"A Unique collection, one that should
be available to the public ... "
John Foley, President of IGHMF is welcomed by Lá Gaeilge Day group at the Gaelic-American Club October 1st
“Chun ár dtodhchaíi a chinntiú, ar dtús ní mór dúinn omós a thabhairt dár stair.:
“In order to secure our future, we must first honor our past.”
Dia dhaoibh go léir. Go raibh maith agaibh go léir as fáilte a chur romham anseo inniú.
Originally my associate, Amy O’Shea was scheduled to speak here today, but she had a family
emergency, so she asked me to step in. Amy is a local and Vice President of Ireland’s Great
Hunger Museum of Fairfield. Now, it’s one thing to have an Irish American speak in an Irish
language event, and quite another, to have a Kerryman speak. One may not be expected to
speak in the native tongue, the other might get a kick in the arse if he didn’t try! So here I am
today before you, and I’m sure the shadow of my old Irish teacher is looming with the rye smile,
and an auld Sally Rod ready for my knuckles.
Sin a bhfuil.
Cúpla blianta ó shin chuaigh mé abhaile go Chiarraí le mo bheirt iníonacha, thug siad faoi
dheara laithreach athrú i mo bhealach mar a dhéanann siad i gconaí. D’fhiafraigh duine amháin
acu, “A dhaid, cad é an rud is fear faoi bheith sa bhaile?” Shíl me ar feadh tamaillín, agus
d’fheager mé, “An rud is fearr ná is feidir liom mo teanga a ligean saor in aisce! Ní gá dom
moillliú chun go dtuigfí mé!
Anois, as bearla.
A few years ago, I went home to Kerry with my two daughters, and they noticed immediately the
change in my demeanor, as they always do. One of them asked me, “Dad, what’s the best thing
about being home?” I thought for a while, and I answered, the best thing is that I can let my
tongue go free, and I do not have to slow down to be understood!
Now I may have been talking about my accent, because Irish was not widely spoken in my part
of Kerry, but the sentiment is the same. There is something comforting about the way we speak,
and the way we are understood. The familiarity of spoken and unspoken understanding. This is
what the Irish language touches within you when spoken, it touches something ancient in your
Thankfully, the Irish language is experiencing a renaissance thanks in no small part to people
like you, who work hard to keep it alive.
Studies have shown that world languages are dying every day. There are many theories as to
why this is the case. Globalization is the easy answer, but I disagree. In order for language, just like
any other tradition to survive, it must be passed on from one generation to the next. It takes work,
it takes sacrifice. You must want it, in order to instill it in the next generation.
IGHMF needs your support
Ireland's Great Hunger Museum of Fairfield is a work in progress and needs your support to see it to completion. You can help IGHMF along this journey by making a donation and by volunteering your time. Please visit the IGHMF Donation Page